Some of My Current Obsessions

On Saturday, I saw Black Swan.

To be honest, I get wary when critics go crazy over a film, because I feel like some of these movies are simply overhyped, like Lost in Translation or any Wes Anderson film.  But the premise of this film – a psychosexual thriller – seemed intriguing, so I snapped up a ticket to the final showing on Saturday, which miraculously wasn’t sold out.

I was really impressed by the film.  First off, Natalie Portman is incredibly good in it.  That’s saying a lot, because she’s such an overrated actress.  This is probably the first time I felt invested in her character and wasn’t thinking, “Oh, look at Natalie Portman attempting to act.”  The basic premise of the film is her character, the perfectionist, innocent Nina, lands the coveted role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake.  Her (rather lecherous) ballet director doesn’t feel like passive Nina has the passion to play Odile, so he tries to draw out her darker side.  Nina begins cultivating this part of herself throughout the film, along with battling the demands for the part, her creepy helicopter mother, and Lily, a fellow ballerina who may or may not be after Nina’s part.  Nina has a lot of emotional issues so part of watching this film is trying to figure out what is real and what is just a disintegration of her mental state.

It’s really good.  It’s also a very dark film, and has some genuinely creepy moments – I found myself actually jumping at one part.  I know some critics have jumped on Aronofsky’s case for not being exactly subtle with the dichotomy between Nina (the White Swan) and Lily (the Black Swan), but I thought it was well-done.  The movie is visually stunning, and the Rodarte costumes are a treat to look at.

I would definitely recommend this movie, with one caveat – it’s really not for kids.

Ok, so on to music.  You all probably know I’m a huge classic rock fan, and have been since I was 17.  That was born of the realization that I was completely ignorant on any aspect of music, so I started educating myself.  I think I’ve done a decent job in learning the essentials of classic rock music and some of the more useless trivia (did you know that Steve Winwood was the lead singer for the Spencer Davis Group AND Traffic?) But in between learning about the music of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, I didn’t put much effort into keeping up with modern music.  Recently I realized that my knowledge of contemporary music is sorely lacking.  So over the past couple of months, I’ve been trying to extend my palate and get into newer artists, the ones I might have missed out on when I was still playing Pink Floyd obsessively.  Tap and Pat are always seeking out new music, so they have been big inspirations in what I should listen to next.

I’ve been pretty obsessed with Jeff Buckley (who is from the 90’s, but whatever) for the past month, but I decided to move on to another artist. I chose Ryan Adams because I’ve always heard how brilliant he is.  (I probably heard more about his antics than his actual music – like how he kicked a fan out of his show after the fan requested Bryan Adams’ song “Summer of ’69.”)  I chose his Gold CD and took a listen.  It’s pretty damn good and there are several songs on there that I would listen to on repeat…but this one takes the cake.

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4 thoughts on “Some of My Current Obsessions

  1. The movie sounds wonderful! I have to ask…is the ending sad? You gave a very good description of the film and now I am quite intrigued and want to see it.

    • The ending is not happy but it’s quite fitting, I think. Once you start watching the movie, you can see that it is not the sort of “happy ending” kind of movie. I will say, there are some sexually explicit scenes so it’s not something that you would want your kids to see.

  2. Hmmm. You see, I like Natalie Portman. In fact, if I could be someone else, I think I’d want to be her. But this movie looks *intense* and I’m not a fan of intensity in movies.

    I might give it a shot though, outside of a movie theater. Or maybe if I ever have a weekend free again, I’ll see it in theater if it’s still playing.

    • I like her as a person, but not so much as an actress. I read a review once that was ripping a performance of hers to shreds and basically saying how she’s so divisive as an actress – you have the camp who adores her, and the rest who thinks she can’t act all all. She called it the “Portman-caring gene,” which I thought was funny.

      That being said, she’s really, really good in this movie.

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